Wave of protest from residents over plans to replace disused church with student housing (From Bournemouth Echo)
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Wave of protest from residents over plans to replace disused church with student housing
PLANS to replace a disused church with a student housing block have sparked a wave of protest from residents.
Residents of the Victoria Park area of Bournemouth fear that replacing a former Apostolic Church with accommodation for 46 students will change the character of the area and increase noise and antisocial behaviour. They are also concerned that just three parking spaces are planned.
More than 40 people have submitted objections to Bournemouth council, urging planners to reject the proposals.
The plans have been put forward by planning agent Ken Parke Planning Consultants on behalf of Barton Estates UK Limited. They claim building new purpose-built accommodation will reduce pressure on family homes and the Art Deco-style design will enhance the area.
They point out the Apostolic Church has relocated to larger premises and the building in Victoria Park Avenue has been unsuccessfully marketed, with no-one interested in using the premises for community purposes.
“Here, we have a local company that wants to invest in developing a property within Bournemouth to provide much-needed housing for students in an appropriate sustainable location and a manner that has been recognised as enhancing the appearance of the area,” their application states.
But many residents are unconvinced. Andrea Gough, of Edgehill Road, has written: “Adding 46 students to the area and not expecting them to have more than three cars is a ridiculous notion.”
And Professor Keith Phalp, of Victoria Park Road, said: “I understand that there is a need for accommodation, particularly given the growth in student numbers. However, this should not be allowed to ruin the lives of existing residents, particularly where the prime motivation seems to be one of private profit.”
Ward councillor Nicola Greene said she would argue the residents’ case at the next meeting of the planning board, if the officer’s recommendation was to grant permission.
She said: “It’s really about the scale and impact of the proposed block. The plans have been revised but the changes don’t address the residents’ concerns.”
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